Two very diverse short films to be screened in Mumbai
A screening brings together diverse films by two artists-in-residence — one retells the story of a semi-divine being in Goa, another gives life to her drawings with stop-motion animation
A frame from Sarah Pupo’s stop-motion animation video, What A Wild Night
At the start of the 13-minute short film, Flights Of Sleeping Birds, Sitaram, sitting under a tree in the north Goan village of Sal, crosses his legs, joins his hands mid-air in the form of prayer and says, "He holds his hands up like this, floating two feet above the ground. You can see everything but his face." The village elder is referring to Devschar, a semi-divine being, who is invoked by the villagers for a ritual called Gadde Utsav. The being is supposed to be made of light and travels through the forest like a giant firefly. "I heard about the ritual and stories around it from a local. It inspired me to shoot a documentary. Since I didn't want to make an anthropological film questioning the tradition, it morphed into a fiction project. It is narrated from the POV of two kids on a journey to discover their ancestral past," says artist Gayatri Kodikal, who shot the film in 2009.
Tomorrow, it will be showcased at a screening organised by What About Art? (WAA), a residency and project space in Bandra, where Kodikal is an artist-in-residence till February. With a background in psychology and cinema, she is working on her next project, The Travelling Hand — an experimental board game revolving around the excavation of a 17th-century Georgian queen's hand in old Goa. "The idea is to share artists' processes with the community of Bandra and kick off the art season," says Niyati Upadhya, project arts manager at WAA. Another work of Kodikal to be showcased is the 11-minute short, Fishlove, completed in 2013. It is an interspecies love story between a fish and a fisherwoman, without any dialogue.
The event will also screen five under-10 minute stop-motion animation works by another artist-in-residence, Sarah Pupo. A Canadian native, Pupo is a self-taught animator, who uses the stop-motion technique to give life to her drawings.
"I was making charcoal drawings at the time (2010) and wanted to just see them move. Now, I paint more with watercolours and inks, so I animate with these materials on a lightbox. I have also become less interested in narrative and more in the process of working intuitively.
I allow the materials to lead me in a slow dance, making incremental decisions as the animation unfolds," she shares in an email interview. Two of the works — What Was A Wild Night and Rocking Chair — have been produced as music videos in collaboration with musician Nina Nielsen and the band Tuneyards.
On: December 23, 7 pm
At: What About Art?, Baitush Apartment, off Waterfield Road,
Giving life to drawings, Sarah Pupo, Artist from Canada
'The basic process of stop-motion animation is to make a drawing or painting, take a picture of it, change the image (add, erase etc) and take another picture... x10,000. I take digital photos of paintings and shapes that I move around on the lightbox surface. Then I import them to an animation software that strings them together and exports them as video. I don't edit. It's important that the process stays as simple as possible.'
A walk through Mohammed Ali Road's Khau Galli